Thursday, 3 January 2013

It's All Coming Back To Me Now - A Love Letter To Awkward Australian Songs

Tina Arena. Very sexual?

A Love Letter To Awkward Australian Songs
by Jo Michelmore

The Scene Awards are done, the Christmas thing is over and the New Year debacle is a distant memory. So, as we’ve launched into our Australian music month, I’m going to spend the next couple of weeks talking vintage Australia. This week? Vintage Australia has a lot to answer for. As musicians, Australian's have had some awkward moments. There was a while there Australian musicians didn’t seem to know what they were doing and, well, they were generally just bad. Actually, that still happens sometimes, doesn’t it? Hi Reece Mastin. Ok, things have improved overall, but with any music, there’ll always be a fair share of awkward. You surely must know by now how much I love awkward. I revel in awkward, because if I revel in someone else’s awkward moments; it takes the spotlight off my own, of which there have been many. Enough about me, let’s talk about some others….

Electric Blue
by Icehouse (1987)


The awkward starts with the curly mullet, continues with the awkward lyrics and ends four and a half minutes later. That’s not even mentioning the singers unfortunately awkward name; Iva Davies. How did you end up with a name like Iva, Iva? I’m sorry. These are classic 80’s lyrics; “I just freeze every time you see though me and it’s all over you, electric blue” What? Excuse me? You see through me? How? What’s electric blue and why do you have it all over you, or why is it all over me? Isn’t that a bit messy? Get your electric blue off me. It’s weird and beside that, I don't do blue, it’s incredibly awkward.

I Need Your Body
by Tina Arena (1990)


Oh see, this is good. This is very good. This just screams 1990, that awkward time that happens at the start of every new decade; the time before the 80’s were truly gone and before the grungy 90’s had caught on. Tina Arena, wearing a too small strapless dress, writhing around on the floor, looking a lot closer to uncomfortable than sexy. I cringe, I laugh, I sing along, I cringe. This is awkwardly brilliant, in every way.

Don’t Go Now 
by Ratcat (1991)


The thing that’s awkward about this is not the song, because the song is so damn catchy, when I remember it exists, it has a tendency to get stuck in my head for days, which gets kind of annoying after a while. They did have another song ‘That Ain’t Bad’, which sounded remarkably like this one, which maybe suggests they might not have had many tricks up their song writing sleeves, which is a little bit awkward. Besides that, the world wasn’t ready for a band that had a black, white and red theme going on. They probably needed Jack White as a guitarist to make that work; hello The White Stripes. Someone in 1991 decided it would be good to have a band with a theme, but if only they’d waited 10 years, they would have seen red, black and white done the right way. Poor Ratcat. Were you just ahead of your time? No, probably not.

The Horses
by Daryl Braithwaite (1991)

I can’t resist this one, because I know someone who sings this on a semi-regular basis at strange and inappropriate times and well, it’s just the ultimate in awkward and weird. I don’t even know where to start. There’s Daryl, in a baggy shirt, tucked into high waisted beige baggy pants, there’s a fully clothed girl writhing around in the surf, there’s a random guy in white shorts and a small child. Then there’s the lyrics; “riding on the horses, way up in the sky” (what?) and then there’s the fact that if you’re Australian and you were born before 1991, you happen to find yourself at a karaoke venue and this song comes on, you probably know the all the lyrics without having to look at the words. In fact, I’m sure you’ve sung along at some stage. Don’t feel awkward. We all have.

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